Linking Neighborhood Context and Health in Community-Dwelling Older Adults in the Medicare Advantage Program

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    Managing functional limitations in older adults —including those needing help with bathing, meal preparation, or shopping — is crucial for maintaining independence at home
    Among Medicare Advantage enrollees, those living in more disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to report a functional limitation than those in less disadvantaged neighborhoods

Background

Preventing and managing functional limitations in older adults — including those needing help with bathing, meal preparation, or shopping — is crucial for maintaining independence at home. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looks at the relationship between functional limitations and two factors: having multiple chronic conditions and living in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood. The authors focus on older adults enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, which enroll 31 percent of the Medicare population.

What the Study Found

Overall, more than one-third of the study sample reported having a functional limitation. Beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions were more likely to report a limitation than those with either no or one chronic conditions. Those in more disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to report a functional limitation than those in less disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Conclusions

The authors recommend that Medicare Advantage plan administrators develop area-based interventions to address functional limitations. For instance, creating and supporting self-management programs in poor neighborhoods could help patients’ deal with limitations and ultimately improve health outcomes.

Publication Details

Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Authors: Daniel Jung, Amy Kind, Stephanie Robert, William Buckingham, and Eva DuGoff
Contact: Mary Mahon, Vice President, Public Information, The Commonwealth Fund
E-mail: mm@cmwf.org
Summary Writer: Deborah Lorber
Citation:
Daniel Jung et al., “Linking Neighborhood Context and Health in Community-Dwelling Older Adults in the Medicare Advantage Program,” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, published online, April 12, 2018.
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